The Canberra Raiders released this statement yesterday:
Canberra Raiders fullback Anthony Milford has informed the club he will be honouring the deal he made with the Brisbane Broncos and will depart at the end of the 2014 season. Milford said the decision to leave the club where he developed his game and made his NRL debut was the toughest of his career so far and thanked everyone involved in the Raiders organisation for the opportunities they have given him and the patience they have shown. “This was a very tough decision for me and my family and I want to thank everyone at the Raiders for everything they have done for me,” Milford said. “I’ve been with the club since I was awarded a scholarship at the age of 13. I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for the Raiders and I will never forget the support they’ve given me. “I’m 100 per cent committed to the Raiders for the rest of the season and I look forward to helping the team play well for the rest of the year.” Milford will honour the final year of his current deal with the Raiders and remain with the club until the end of the 2014 season.
Whilst I appreciate the sentiment and the comments of Milford towards the Raiders, I am left to ponder what benefit there is to the club in Milford continuing to play for the Raiders in 2014.
Let’s be plain: the Raiders are in disarray at the moment and a large part of that appears to fall to a player group that is either uninterested or just plain bad (I don’t know which). This is after they got the coaching change they wanted.
Now the club’s members and fans are expected to continue to support a player who has been financially rewarded by the club since he was 13 and who is now leaving. To me that, at best, is a questionable position to be in and, at worst, is just plain wrong.
I make no criticism of Milford or his motives BUT to continue to select him in the top side each week and to continue to develop his game before he leaves is something I can not countenance. In what will be a losing season for the Raiders surely the best option is for Milford to play out his contract with the Raiders’ feeder teams and let a young player actually committed to the club play.
Such a move is also in Milford’s best interests given that the feeder team he would likely play for (Brisbane Souths) is located in the place he so desperately wants to be.
I wrote recently about the tenure of the coach and my keenness to see the Raiders improve as a team: the selection of Milford will make a mockery of that imperative as the only club being improved by him being on the park is the Broncos. It is clearly time for Milford to exit and exit now!